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The results of the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) have now been published.1 The primary purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin and the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in reducing the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD). A secondary goal was to test the effects of reducing the amount of zinc and eliminating beta carotene from the original AREDS formulation.2 Beta carotene has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and former smokers.3,4
BACKGROUND — The first AREDS trial recruited 3640 patients 55-80 years old who had AMD at various stages. Patients were randomized (double masked) to: (1) antioxidants at doses 5 to 15... more
1. AREDS2 Research Group. Lutein + zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids for age-related macular degeneration: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) randomized clinical trial. JAMA 2013; 309:2005.
3. The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta-Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. N Engl J Med 1994; 330:1029.
5. AREDS Research Group. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report No. 8. Arch Ophthalmol 2001; 119:1417.